The Buyer's Guide To Water Pumps
Water pumps play an essential role in construction projects of all sizes. In a wet environment such as the UK, the water table is never more than a couple of meters below the surface, and often less. This means that any ditch or hole used during construction can quickly become waterlogged, whether through rainfall, run-off or rising groundwater. Failing to adequately drain a hole can cause problems when pouring concrete for foundations or reinforced steel work. Having a powerful, safe water pump with the appropriate capacity is therefore a must have requirement for any construction contractor.
At Key Services we supply a range of quality construction tools at competitive prices, including a selection of specialist concrete accessories. Our supply partners are carefully selected for their manufacturing quality, reputation, safety and reliability.
We are a one-stop-shop for all components and services required to keep a water pump in good working order. We provide:
So whether you are in the market for a new water pump, or simply wish to improve the service life of your existing kit, please get in touch today. If you have any questions in the meantime, please call us on 02467 559770.
To browse our current product catalogue, please visit: https://www.keyservicesuk.co.uk/products/loncin-products/water-pumps
When looking for a water pump, it is important to choose the right unit for the job. You will find many varieties, organised according to the net power of the motor, size, delivery volume, suction capacity and lift capacity. In this section we will look at the most important factors, based on your performance criteria. Firstly we will discuss budget requirements and choosing a good manufacturer.
Water pumps vary widely in price. You want to choose a pump that is well engineered, affordably priced and won’t let you down. We recommend you avoid the cheapest units on the market. These tend to be manufactured by Chinese companies and are reverse engineered versions of Japanese, American or European models.
Honda Koshin are the market leading water pump manufacturers. These are great units but come with a high price. Expect to pay anything from £330-£3,000 for a water pump from Honda Koshin.
We’ve used Honda Koshin pumps alongside many other manufacturers, and in our opinion their performance is no better than some other mid-priced brands. We suspect that businesses “pay for the name” with the higher-priced Honda units.
Our supplier of choice is Loncin. Their pumps start at around £125 for a 1 inch petrol pump, and go up to £400 or so for specialist high lift pumps. These are a lot cheaper than the Honda units, but in our experience are equally reliable and deliver consistently powerful performance. Loncin pumps are intuitive to use and easy to maintain, and will work hard for many years.
There are two main types of water pump:
- Submersible Pumps (sub pump), normally electric powered
- Fuel Pumps, mostly powered by a petrol motor, although some use diesel
Fuel pumps are the default option because of their versatility and reliability. However, these can only be used in fairly shallow water. For deeper trenches, you will need a submersible pump.
We are delighted to supply the full catalogue of Tsurumi submersible pumps; durable, lightweight pumps designed for specialist construction scenarios, including bore hole, slurry, quarry and gravel pit drainage.
The most important factor of all is the size of the pump. This is determined by the diameter of the discharge port and suction port, given in either millimeters or inches. The larger the outlet pipe, the faster the water can be pumped out. Pumps are determined by the size of these port diameters, the most common being:
- 1 inch/25 mm: 8000 L per hour delivery volume
- 2 inch/50 mm: 30,000 L per hour
- 3 inch/80 mm: 60,000 L per hour
2 inch/50 mm pumps are normally the most efficient, but you should choose a pump based on your required output speed. Always go for the lowest possible speed in order to conserve energy. Larger pumps use more fuel / electricity.
The depth of your ditch / hole is also important, as it determines how far your pump will need to project the discard water to clear the top of the excavation. This capacity is called lift, and varies from model to model from 23 to around 35 metres. For deeper ditches you will need a high lift model, which will give you extended lift of up to 60 or more metres. High lift pumps achieve this through concentrating additional pressure at the discharge port.
You need to be careful when pumping water from an excavation, as the presence of debris (such as rubbish, broken glass, bricks and rubble) can clog the suction port and damage your pump. High quantities of debris will impede the work of your pump and make it less efficient, forcing it to expend more energy and risking overheating.
For soiled excavations you will need a trash pump or a semi trash pump, depending on the level of debris. Trash pumps have a powerful motor and a series of filters to exclude rubbish while extracting the maximum volume of water. The payoff is that they are slightly slower than their equivalent standard pumps. A 3 inch semi trash pump will deliver a volume of around 45,000 litres of water per hour. Trash pumps are also larger and heavier than standard units. Debris filters need cleaning and replacing regularly.
There are several health, safety and environmental (HSE) considerations to using water pumps, which we will address briefly in this section. Some of these issues can be avoided through safe and responsible use of your water pump, while other risks can be minimised through regular planned preventative maintenance (PPM).
Electricity and water do not make good bed companions! Most high quality water sub pumps are completely safe, but electrocution can be an issue when using an electric submersible pump, so it makes sense to take reasonable precautions:
- Only use specifically designed submersible pumps.
- Avoid using high voltage electric pumps. For safety reasons we only sell 110 V electric submersible pumps. These are perfectly adequate to any drainage task and are less risky than higher powered units. A 110 V electric shock, while not pleasant, carries far less risk of life-threatening cardio interference than higher voltage currents.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions and do not use a faulty unit.
Fuel pumps do not pose an electrocution hazard.
Like all construction kit, a water pump is a safety risk to operators and bystanders if not used properly:
- Read all safety manuals and instructions prior to use
- Only allow trained staff to use the water pump
- Check the condition of the unit before use. Do not attempt to use if parts are damaged or missing
- Check all components are properly fitted together
- Wear appropriate protective clothing such as gloves, safety goggles, protective overalls and a hardhat
- Never operate a water pump when tired, or under the influence of medication, drugs or alcohol
- Ensure all safety guards and shields are in place during operation
- Do not overfill the fuel tank. Close the fuel cap tightly to avoid spillage and leaks. Switch your water pump off and allow it to cool before refuelling
- Vent the water pump and drain plug before operation
- Do not allow your water pump to overheat. If the pump begins to overheat, cease operation and allow the unit to return to ambient temperature
- Allow adequate space for ventilation – this is especially important with petrol operated water pumps
- Do not use a water pump for flammable or corrosive fluids, such as petrol or acids. Only use a pump for the liquid it was intended for
- Allow a safety area of at least 3 ft from walls, equipment and personnel during operation. This minimises the fire hazard from overheating and allows space for ventilation
- Do not use a water pump in the presence of flammable or explosive materials, as the heat from the unit can pose a fire risk
The question often arises of whether it is safe and / or permissible to dewater a construction site without environmental permits. Clearly there are environmental considerations, as water may contain oil, diesel or petrol residues, and sometimes noxious substances such as sewage or chemicals.
If the discharge water is known to contain waste matter, poisonous or polluting materials, you will need a permit before discharging it into surface water. This includes rivers, canals, lakes and the sea. However, you do not need a permit for the temporary discharge of uncontaminated surface water. This includes all water pumps out of excavations, unless there are known pollutants on the site. The trace chemicals and fuel residues present in pumped water are considered to be low risk by the Environment Agency and are removed through standard processes when the water is returned to the mains.
To be permissible, the discharge must meet the following criteria:
- Not last for more than three consecutive months
- Not pose a flood risk to neighbouring properties or public areas
- Not be harmful to local plants and wildlife
- Not aid the spread of invasive species (such as Japanese Knotweed)
- Discharge made to surface water only
- Discharge should not cause erosion to the bed or banks of surface water streams
- Liquid should not be discharged within 500 metres of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA), or designated conservation area (for example, National Nature Reserve, Special Area of Conservation)
The vast majority of excavations produce small, temporary volumes of discharge liquid and comply with these criteria. However, if you are in any doubt, please contact the Environment Agency directly for clarification.
All brands of water pump benefit from regular servicing and maintenance. This extends the life of the pump and prevents serious mechanical failures, which could be dangerous as well as expensive. Going on the principle that prevention is better than cure, it is always cheaper to fix minor issues as they arise, rather than waiting for them to escalate into major repairs. Simple seal replacements and filter changes on a regular basis can prevent major issues such as leaks, engine failure and overheating.
We recommend you service your water pumps twice a year, or after every 500 hours of operation; submitting them to a full health check that includes a spark plug change and filter replacement. For kit used continually or on prolonged projects, you may need to increase your maintenance schedule to servicing every three months. If your kit is infrequently used, we still recommend a service every six months or at a minimum once per year, as seals and other delicate components can degrade through moisture damage even when not in use.
We offer a thorough maintenance service here at Key Services, on flexible contract terms, including all parts and labour. Our care packages include after sales telephone support and technical advice for all models of water pump, including the full Loncin range.
Our team of highly skilled engineers are equipped to deal with all water pump maintenance and repair issues. We also hold stock of all vital components. Our planned preventative maintenance (PPM) service helps keep your equipment running for longer, so you can keep your operating costs down. Please get in touch today for a free quote.
When a mechanical fault does occur, discontinue operation and seek a repair service as quickly as possible. Water pumps can easily overheat when faulty, presenting a risk of fire or even explosion. If you suspect a fault, power down your unit, disconnect it from its power source and allow it to cool down. Then contact a qualified repair service, such as our Key Services team. We will send an engineer out to repair your equipment as soon as possible.
Repairs can be requested on an ad hoc basis, or included as part of a PPM contract. The service includes maintenance on or off-site, spare parts and even the loan of replacement kit so your work is undisrupted.
If you have a competent in-house engineer and prefer to carry out servicing yourself, we also supply a wide selection of spare parts at affordable prices, with commonly used components available for order in bulk. Always refer to the manufacturer’s user manual before attempting a repair.
With water pumps available through many different outlets, from construction wholesalers to eBay, why purchase through Key Services? Firstly, we offer more than simply a sales service. What sets us apart from our competitors is the level of after sales care we provide, which includes technical support, maintenance and repair, as well as a comprehensive selection of spare parts. Secondly, our reliability, the breadth of our product range and the quality of our construction supplies are good reasons why customers keep coming back to Key Services.
We are a family run business with over 40 years’ experience supplying and maintaining construction equipment to the sector. Our established services and key partnerships with leading manufacturers enable us to offer you quality equipment and spare parts at competitive prices.
We purchase from a wide range of suppliers, which means we can always source a product to match your needs. We hold high levels of stock across a range of products, to ensure fast, reliable service and delivery for any water drainage job. We also collect from and deliver to any site in the UK.
With our extensive construction industry experience and highly trained team of engineers, we provide an invaluable maintenance and repair service. Our superior back up service saves you delays, man hours and money over the life time of your equipment.
Our experienced advisors are happy to offer help and advice. Orders can be placed over the telephone, by fax, by email or through our website.